As the lackluster economy puts a stranglehold on state budgets and officials search for places to make cuts, one target of the ax is agriculture programs, including Extension.
Some were potentially draconian. Michigan was threatened with a 44 percent cut in funding for Extension and research stations after narrowly escaping elimination through line item vetoes. In October, however, the governor approved a budget that included the programs.
Ag economist Dave Schweikhardt, formerly at Mississippi State and now at Michigan State, says, “The bottom line is that state and local governments are a major contractionary force in the economy right now, because their only choice is to raise taxes or cut spending.